Dave Davis of rural Bloomfield has become well known for his passion and his ability to grow giant pumpkins. Davis is also well known for growing tomatoes and other garden goodies.
Last week, Davis revealed a new accomplishment after he set the state record for growing the largest cantaloupe. Not only did he do it once, but he did it twice.
Davis was forced into picking some of his prized giant cantaloupe last week after a thunderstorm brought hail with it. “That hail just shredded my plants. There just wasn’t anything left to help support the growth of these cantaloupes,” he said.
Davis weighed his first fruit on Sept. 1. The fruit weighed in at 56.74 pounds. That alone was a new record for the state of Iowa. That record was set in 2018 by Dave Bennett who also is a rural Davis County resident.
Davis decided to pick a second cantaloupe off the vines, which he said was bigger. “I wanted to pick it before it started to split,” he said. Davis brought the cantaloupe into Hamilton Produce Sept. 3 to weigh it on one of their certified scales.
Davis hoisted the fruit up on the scale and let it settle. The scale is located behind the cash registers in front of Hamilton Produce, and a small crowd started to gather to see what was happening. As the scale settled on a weight, Davis produced a look of shock followed by a smile when he realized that his own state record cantaloupe weighing 56.74 pounds was now just a fond memory.
Davis set a new state record on Sept. 3 with his second cantaloupe. The fruit weighed in at 61.85 pounds.
A couple days later, Davis announced that his 61.85-pound cantaloupe was now able to be recognized world-wide. “I found out that it is the eighth largest undamaged cantaloupe in the world,” he said. “I also found out that this cantaloupe was just 5.3 pounds away from setting a world record. The current world record is a cantaloupe grown in Kentucky that weighed 67.81 pounds. That record was broke on Aug. 1 of this year,” said Davis.
Davis says the cantaloupes he is growing are not your normal cantaloupes. “These are what they call colossal cantaloupe and are a special variety,” said Davis. “I’ve been told they are good to eat, but maybe not quite as good as what people are used to.”
Davis’ cantaloupe is one of nine fruits to eclipse the 60-pound weight. “Five of those nine were grown this year,” he said.
Davis has been growing giant pumpkins for the past few years. He said last week that 2019 was his first attempt at growing giant cantaloupe. “I have two fruits that finished weighing over 50 pounds, two that weighed over 60 pounds and two more that weighed over 45 pounds,” he said.
The record setting fruit was also 27.5 inches long, which is long for even those large fruits. Davis is now a wanted man by many others who are passionate about growing giant fruits and vegetables. Davis has already been contacted by growers who want to purchase seed from the large fruits he is growing. “These are world class growers,” said Davis.
Davis will host the Bloomfield Giant Pumpkin Bash on Sept. 28 on the square as part of the Bloomfield Main Street Fall Festival. The weigh-off will begin at 9 a.m.